Terri Friedman

January 2017


These are uncertain times. My fiber work chronicles the climate around me. Meditations on words and color. Everything feels unhinged. The atmosphere is radioactive and so are the woven panels. This has been a year of loss and grief personally and nationally. In addition to the toxic political environment, a friend died suddenly.  Death, impermanence, and uncertainty are present. I am interested in those places where lightness penetrates the darkness. What began as hopeful and optimistic work, slowly traveled through transition, loss, grief, disbelief (Wow, Oh no, Why), to find it’s way to cautionary tales (SOS, Wrong Way, Awake). Though camouflaged or woven into each piece, these small words have great impact. The panels are personal protest banners - Affirmations. Just as inspired by contemporary Women Abstract painters as much as by artists like Sister Corita Kent or fiber artists from the 60’s and 70’s like Magdalena Abakanowicz, Lenore Tawney, Hannah Ryggen, or Sheila Hicks.

By no means has my path as an artist been linear. In a very fluid manner, I have traversed the landscape of paint, sculpture, fiber, or collaboration as my art forms. For years I have investigated painting through every day materials: kinetic sculpture, installation. And that is exactly how I approach the loom. Expanding material limits, diving into color, redefining landscapes, interested in invention and innovation yet borrowing from tradition. 

The process of weaving is unforgiving, mathematical, and imperfect. There is no painting over. It is like a digital printer, generated from the bottom to the top until an image is formed. The woven panels tell stories about impact, instability, intensity, or even violence. Violent pretty. Like many weavers, my process is not organic.  After drawing, painting, picking palettes for warp and weft (the vertical and horizontal threads), measuring, laying them out on grid paper, I am ready to warp my loom.  Though there is room for spontaneity, each warp thread and each section of the painted image is mapped out on paper before I begin. Unlike traditional tapestry, my warp and Weft have equal weight. I like the very basic and straightforward technology of a loom. Like a web, the loom is a receptacle which collects my yarn and fiber. It is ageless. 

Weaving color. Yarn as paint. I have boxes of yarns sorted by color and fiber. I welcome the tension between the natural fibers next to mass-produced artificial neon color yarn or even painted cotton piping. I am interested in the sickly sweet, awkward, uncertain, chromatic, theatrical, and ornate because it mirrors the unhinged world we live in. Varying the fibers creates more movement and agitation. 

Fear of color, Chromophobia, is fear of race, sexuality, and life itself. Bright colors are often associated with children, homosexuality, sensuality, the extreme feminine, or drug culture. Psychedelia. Dazzle. Drag. Humor. Sickly Sweet. Color has the power to transcend. Both confrontational and comforting, color mirrors the unraveling. Rainbow Acid zigzags move through the panels. The works are patchworks of words and abstraction, memorials of light coming through loss. Ultimately, all through a filter of optimism.